Beware of Those Holiday Tech ‘Bargains’

By Robyn Wright

With the Holiday season fast approaching, we are going to be seeing a lot of deals on tech devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and accessories. While we all want to get a good deal and find a bargain at this time of year, you do need to be mindful of why an item might be offered at a reduced cost and if it really represents a bargain.

Value should always be more important than price. If you pay a low price but something breaks or does not work, then it was a waste of your money. Here are some things to watch out for and consider when looking for tech bargains:

Old models

Most of the time there is nothing wrong with prior models of popular tech devices, but if you are hoping for the latest and greatest, you want to make sure that is exactly what you are getting. Before shopping for a specific item, check for the latest model so you can be sure you are getting what you want. If you don’t mind an older model, you can usually find some good deals. For instance, a Samsung Galaxy S4 is still a great phone and a little less expensive than the newer Galaxy S5 version.

Tech Specs

This is the hardest thing for most people. Specifications on tech products are usually presented in terms and numbers that the average person is just not that familiar with. You also do not necessarily need the fastest processor or the highest screen pixel count – some people’s needs are not as great as others. Take a look at the tech specs on the manufacturers’ websites and get an idea of what to expect from the newer models.

Off Brands

I am not saying all off brands are bad, but unfortunately many of them are. You may find a tablet for $50 that says you can do everything you want on it, but chances are you will be disappointed when you actually start using it. Before purchasing an unfamiliar brand do some research to see what people are saying about the product in their online reviews.

Warranty

Always be sure to check the length of the manufacturer’s warranty. Unfortunately with tech devices, it is usually fairly short. Extended warranties are offered at many places and should be considered but be sure to read the terms – don’t expect the cashier to know them.

Insurance

This is another optional purchase for things like smartphones and tablets. While they can be beneficial, especially if the owner is a little clumsy, you definitely need to understand the terms. Some insurance plans have a large deductible or a restriction on the number of claims. Be sure to know what types of accidents or losses are covered by the insurance.

Quality

Your budget will determine the quality you can afford but don’t be so concerned with budget that you end up with a lesser quality item than you can actually afford. This also applies to small accessories like cords, plugs, and chargers. I see a lot of these at dollar stores but the quality is poor and many of them end up being recalled.

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